Update on Google Encrypted Search
Back when Google moved to encrypted search by default in 2011, it created issues for schools who wanted to restrict and report on Google searches so we worked with them to create an option to be able to redirect Google search traffic to servers that do not allow encrypted searching. By redirecting to nosslsearch.google.com, schools could filter and monitor like usual. Many schools have been using this solution.
Google has recently announced that providing this service is not something they can continue; they are replacing the non-encrypted servers with encrypted servers that always enforce safe search. You can read more about this directly from Google here.
What this means for Lightspeed Customers:
If safe search is enough:
If you are already using the option to Disable Google Encrypted Search and “force safe search” is enough restriction for your users, you do not need to do anything. The Rocket already has everything in place to transition to the new Google offering as they release this. The documentation for disabling Google encrypted search can be found here. When this is turned on, users who Google search will be redirected to encrypted servers but will have Force Safe Search on.
If you require more restrictions and reporting:
Because the connection will be encrypted this will have an impact on any web filter’s ability to manipulate Google searches. For Lightspeed Systems Web Filter Rockets running in transparent bridge mode, you will continue to have the ability to force safe search through Google’s new offering but you will no longer be able to restrict or report on users’ search or image search queries. To retain the current level of Google search reporting and restriction, you should use the Lightspeed Systems Web Filter in proxy mode. It is possible to configure this so that only the Google traffic is proxied and does not require you to proxy all of your encrypted web traffic. We have an example of how to create a PAC file here and configure a proxy server here.
We continue to work closely with Google to ensure that our customers and all schools have the best and safest access to valuable Web resources. If you have questions about your specific implementation, our Support team would be happy to assist you.